GeneralHr Library

Best HR Practices: The 3M Story

Source | LinkedIn : By Rajeev Moothedath

Recent times have been a bonanza of sorts as both NIPM and NHRD, professional bodies of HR, in their monthly evening meetings have been arranging talks on “best practices”. The pleasure for me has been twofold in the sense, I not only get to attend and become aware of the best practices but also have the pleasure of writing about them in my blog for the benefit of readers. After the “best practice” stories from Ingersoll and GE, I was eagerly looking forward to listen to the 3M story on 14th July (the first meeting organized by the new team of NIPM under the chairmanship of Mr T. Ashoka) at the Chancery Pavilion, Bangalore. The D day finally arrived and the speaker was Mr Maclean.S. Raphael, Executive Director, Human Resources, 3M India and Srilanka.

The speaker started his talk giving an outline about 3M as a global company. While many of us know about the ‘Post it’ sticky notes, it was a revelation that 3M has over 55,000 products and still counting. It has five businesses that include industrial consumables, health care, safety & graphics, electronics & energy and operates from over 70 countries and employs more than 88,000 employees.

It was clear right from the initial stage of the presentation that 3M attaches a lot of importance to R&D. It invests 5.5% of its sales every year for R&D and has 46 technology platforms at present. The innovation focus includes product, technology, culture, market spaces and HR innovation. At the outset Maclean clarified that the best practices in his company is not so much about the “What” but more on the “How”. In other words, the focus is more on the manner it is executed than the idea itself which many may feel that they already have in some form in their companies.

He said that if a more than a century old, company has managed to remain current and robust, it is on account of the principles laid down by one of the earliest leaders Mr William. McKnight who was Chairman of the company from 1949 to 1966 and continued as honorary chairman of the board until 1972. His cardinal yet simple principles for day to day working included the following:

  •  Mistakes will be made; don’t condemn bona fide mistakes
  •  Do not micro manage
  •   Delegate

3M has been operating in India since 27 years with the corporate office in UB city, Bangalore, five manufacturing units and R&D centres at Electronic city, Bangalore and in Gurgaon. There are car care centres all over the country. The ‘Best HR practices” touch all aspects of an employee’s life viz. Joining, communication, engagement/ retention, ER/IR, development, recognition and career.The speaker touched upon and shared information on the following practices during the course of his talk

.1) Campus Connect Program- INF Challenge (Young Innovators Challenge award) 2016

This program was introduced in India in collaboration with CII on the lines of 3 M’s global Young Scientist Challenge aimed at enhancing scientific exploration, innovation and communication across the country. Students of top-notch educational institutions such as XLRI, IIM, IIFT, TAPMI, SP Jain, NMIMS and BIM, Trichy participated. The students interested in the challenge are required to prepare 3 minute videos showcasing their ideas and initiative. Maclean informed that over 3000 students participated in the challenge which in itself played a big role in projecting the image of the company as a preferred employer. The contestants were initially shortlisted to 16 for the India challenge and 2 were selected for the international challenge held in St.Paul Minnesota. One of them from XLRI was eventually selected as the Winner in St.Paul !

The speaker said that the stupendous success of the program has given them the confidence to leverage this initiative in future for a stronger campus connect and hiring program.

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